With apologies to George Lucas and Margaret Thatcher

May the 4th be with you

Clever, catchy and instantly recognisable “May the 4th be with you” is known to all as a Star Wars pun that launched a holiday.

The phrase is, of course, an ingenious play on one of the most famous Star Wars quotes of all time – “May the Force be with you”.

Unlikely origins

Star Wars Day, May the Force Be With You
Gallo Images / Getty Images

As many celebrate this Star Wars holiday by sharing Star Wars memes, rewatching the movies and, perhaps, pretending to be a Jedi one might think that this famous phrase originates from the Star Wars stable as a creation of George Lucas.

Well it appears that it wasn’t George but the UK’s Conservative Party that can claim the prize of creating the now famous phrase.

According to Newsweek, after Margaret Thatcher won the UK’s General election on May the 4th 1979 the Conservative Party placed a newspaper advert that stated:

May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations.

Far more important, to me, is May the 4th (2022) marking the fourth anniversary of relinquishing my accountability for the operation of the UK’s retail payment system Bacs (the systemically important operator of the UK’s Direct Debit and Direct Credit payment schemes).

It was a massive privilege to be the custodian of Bacs, to be responsible for the safe operation of the Current Account Switching Service, to have formed Faster Payments Scheme Limited and to be accountable for the UK’s Real Time Gross Settlement system (CHAPS). 

There are many successes to reflect on and many happy memories of working with some of the best payment professionals in the business. It is amazing to see how the careers of so many of the Bacs team have blossomed and developed over the past four years – I’m always very proud when I hear of the latest news of a former Bacs team member!

For me, the past four years have been a whirlwind of Advisory, Ambassadorial, Advocacy and Amplification activity with new people and new companies (plus a few ‘old’ friends) – all dedicated to making payments a richer, smoother and more innovative space.

It has been a long journey from an 18 year old correspondent banking digger and inbound CHAPS queue operator to a payments portfolio executive all via a systemically important CEO but my experience is proof that payments can be fun.

Also, I’m so pleased that dropping out of my Chartered Institute of Bankers exams wasn’t the career limiting moment that my bank bosses told me it would be.

With apologies to George Lucas and Margaret Thatcher

So with apologies to George Lucas and Margaret Thatcher, I’m going to lay claim to “May the 4th be with you” – the day I relinquished my responsibility for the UK’s largest retail payment system and entered became a portfolio payments executive.

To colleagues past and present, thank you for a payments blast and “May the 4th be with you” as well.

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